Jun 18, 2012 12:18 UTC
Latest updates: Mk2 changes; Qualification; Deliveries have begun.
Back in August 2006, “Britain to Privatize Battlefield Support Helicopters?!?” discussed one of the most unusual public-private proposals we’ve ever seen. The question before the Ministry of Defense was how to replace Britain’s remaining H-3 Sea Kings, and its 34 AS330 Puma HC1 medium helicopters, all of which entered service during the 1960s and 1970s. Complaints about the lack of battlefield helicopter support have become acute in Britain, resulting in temporary fixes like buying 6 operational Danish EH101 helicopters, and paying the cost of refit plus future replacements – about GBP 176 million total.
The longer term roadmap was clarified by the UK’s December 2009 CH-47F purchase. In the medium helicopter sphere, a 2007 announcement turned out to be the path forward, as Britain formally abandoned its public-private partnership proposal. It would take almost 2 more years before that resulted in a Puma upgrade contract, which narrowly survived cancellation.
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Jan 19, 2012 17:00 UTC
In January 2012, Lockheed Martin Global Training and Logistics in Orlando, FL received a 5-year, $94 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract to continue supporting the USAF’s Distributed Mission Operations Center. The mission of the 705th Combat Training Squadron DMOC is to to conduct exercises, training, tactics, techniques and procedures-warfighter readiness, testing, experimentation, tactical to operational-bridged events, and standards development for USAF Air Combat Command and its allies. Their efforts range all the way up to theater-level, full spectrum combat training, test, and mission rehearsal, including Air Combat Command’s Synthetic Battlespace inter-team training events; Air Expeditionary Force-aligned, quarterly recurring Virtual Flag exercises; etc.
Lockheed Martin will continue to operate the award-winning center, building and maintaining network infrastructure, developing and maintaining associated software and hardware, and conducting distributed mission operations engineering activities at Kirkland Air Force Base, NM. The contract runs until Jan 31/17, and is managed by the AFNWC/PKE at Kirkland AFB, NM (FA9422-12-D-0001).
Oct 24, 2011 18:11 UTC
Greek F-16 TS
In an age of expensive fighters, expensive fuel, limited flight time, and cheaper computing power, high-fidelity simulators have become an important component of pilot training. L-3 Link Simulation and Training in Arlington, TX is a global leader in this segment, with a very strong position in fighter plane simulators, and their associated Mission Training Centers. They’re often partnered with another major contractor in those efforts. Boeing is L-3′s partner for F-16 Mission Training Centers, for instance, even though the F-16 is a Lockheed Martin plane.
In October 2011, L-3 Link received a maximum $469.5 million firm-fixed-price, cost reimbursement contract to support 183 of their their F-16 TS (training system) installations around the world for the USAF (33 global locations, incl. Hill AFB, UT), and F-16 customers Bahrain, Greece, and Jordan. The contract doesn’t involve any simulators, but “support” means more than just simulator maintenance, training operations that include other devices, and keeping up the associated databases of simulated objects. It also involves change management to install simulator upgrades if requested, and keeping each simulator remains faithful to changes and upgrades in the real F-16 fleets. The USAF’s ASC/WNSK, at Wright Patterson AFB, OH, manages this contract for ther USAF, and acts as the agent for its Foreign Military Sale clients (FA8621-12-D-6337).
Oct 19, 2011 16:51 UTC
(click to view info.)
The Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, GA is an outgrowth of the BRAC 2005 process, which consolidated the Army Armor Center and School with the Army Infantry Center and School. In October 2011, they issued a 5-year, maximum $458 million contract among 14 contractors.
Winners will bid on task orders to help the center produce training strategies, doctrine, capabilities, analysis, instruction and products for the current and future force. Per standard procedure, work location will be determined with each task order, during a contract period that will run until Sept 30/16. The bid was solicited through the Internet, with 34 bids received by the Mission Contracting Office in Fort Bragg, NC. The 14 winners were:
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Sep 29, 2011 16:28 UTC
In late September 2011, SERE Solutions, Inc. in Spokane, WA received a $9.2 million firm-fixed-price contract for survival, evasion, resistance, and escape (SERE) services. Work will be performed at Fairchild AFB, WA, and Lackland AFB, TX. The Air Education and Training Command CONS/LGCU at Randolph Air Force Base, TX, manages the contract (FA3002-06-D-0008, PO 0026). The contract number indicates that it has been going since FY 2006, but this is the first public DefenseLINK announcement.
SERE is no walk in the park. It’s designed to prepare more than 6,500 aircrew and “high risk of capture” DOD personnel to survive under any conditions. That includes arctic, desert, open ocean, jungle, mountain… and even captivity. Cdr. Frank “Spig” Wead describes his SERE experiences in detail, and its details explain why SERE became a news item in recent years: the use of “waterboarding” on all participating personnel. That same technique was used on a few senior al-Qaeda personnel, most notably Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, but Cdr. Wead’s take on it was not universally shared by those who endured it in SERE school.
Aug 31, 2011 18:19 UTC
Sniper event gear
At the end of August 2011, the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Warren, MI issued a maximum $475 million firm-fixed-price indefinite-delivery / indefinite-quantity multiple-award-contract for the Army Targetry Systems program. Items bought include Stationary Infantry Targets, Stationary Armor Targets, Moving Infantry Targets, Moving Armor Targets, Sound Effect Simulators, plus associated computers and software to run the ranges used for soldier qualification. Work location will be determined with each task order, which will be open to competition among the winning firms. The contract will run until May 3/16, and all 5 bids received qualified. The winners were:
This is not the first such contract issued by the US Army, just the latest in a long series. Many of the winners remain the same.
Jul 10, 2011 16:26 UTC
RAAF Hawk Mk127s
In July 2011, the Australian government announced a 2-year, A$150 million (about $161 million) extension of the existing contract with BAE Systems Australia, to provide support for the RAAF’s Hawk 127 Lead-In-Fighter Trainers, plus accompanying full simulators (2) and computer training systems. The 33 Hawk Mk.127s are based at RAAF Williamtown near Newcastle in the SE, and RAAF Pearce near Perth in Western Australia. They provide the last stage of training before pilots graduate to Australia’s F/A-18A/B Hornet and F/A-18F Super Hornet fighters.
As part of their Strategic Reform savings program, Australia’s DoD and BAE have arranged for more than 10% in savings over the extension’s life, via a revised maintenance strategy and overhaul program changes. BAE Systems Australia employs 180 people to support the aircraft, and has been providing that support since 2000. Australia DoD.
Jun 20, 2011 18:36 UTC
Tornado refuels M346
(click for full picture)
At the 2009 Le Bourget air show, Alenia Aeronautica announced a long-awaited contract to sell its new M346 Master advanced trainer jet to the Italian Air Force. This initial agreement covers 6 jets and an integrated training service, with an option for another 9 aircraft.
Alenia’s M346 advanced trainer and light attack jet began life in 1993, as a collaboration with Russia. It was also something of a breakthrough for Alenia Aermacchi, confirming that the Finmeccanica subsidiary could autonomously design and manufacture advanced aircraft with full authority quadriplex Fly-by-Wire controls. Those controls, the aircraft’s design for vortex lift aerodynamics, and a thrust:weight ratio of nearly 1:1 from its Fiat Avio/Honeywell ITEC F124-GA-200 turbofans, allow it to remain fully controllable even at angles of attack over 35 degrees. This is useful for simulating the capabilities of advanced 4+ generation fighters like the F/A-18 Super Hornet, Eurofighter, and Rafale. Not to mention Sukhoi’s SU-30 family, which has made a name for itself at international air shows with remarkable nose-high maneuvers.
The Russian collaboration didn’t last. For a while, it looked like the Italian jet might not last, either. Now, it finally has its first confirmed contract…
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Jun 14, 2011 09:46 UTC
- The US Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) report [PDF] on policy options for unmanned aerial systems (UAS) estimates that DoD plans to acquire 730 UAS based on designs currently in operation, while also improving the unmanned aircraft already in service will cost $36.9 billion through 2020. The CBO also analyzed options that would cost from $3.7 billion less than the DoD’s plans through 2020 to $2.9 billion more.
- An independent review of 40 major programs concludes that the Pentagon’s Operational Test & Evaluation teams are not the cause of delays in all the weapons programs. Instead the report revealed that delays in 37 programs were caused by problems discovered during testing.
- Lockheed Martin will provide its Prepar3D visual simulation software to power the National Flight Academy’s (NFA) immersive aviation experience as part of the academy’s hands-on approach to teaching the principles of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
- Flight Global reports that Israel’s Aeronautics Defense Systems’ Orbiter Mini UAV and BlueBird’s SpyLite Multi Configuration Tactical UAS are two final contenders in the Finnish military’s unmanned air system contest.
- Intelligent Software Solutions (ISS) wins a contract from the the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) for software that will use predictive reasoning and pattern-analysis to improve situational awareness for British warfighters and help determine the level of risk for various missions.
- UAS Vision says the first meeting of the Netherlands’ new unmanned aerial sector (UAS) network attracted 70 individuals representing 40 different companies and organizations. One of the principal aims of the network is to advance the development and deployment of unmanned aircraft systems in the Netherlands.
- India’s Home Ministry to evaluate unmanned aerial system (UAS) technologies for law enforcement purposes.
- Cubic Global Tracking Solutions announces that it has received certification from Iridium Communications Inc. for its Global Sentinel System. The product tracks and monitors high-risk assets utilizing a variety of transmission links.
- Wired’s Danger Room reports on the evidence that Russia may have revived the Soviet-era Falcon-Echelon laser project. Potential targets include U.S. satellites.
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